Laptops project in limbo as court suspends tender process

March 19, 2014 3:08 pm
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Justice Weldon Korir said the stay order will remain in place until the High Court hears and determines a petition filed by Olive Telecommunications challenging the cancellation of the tender/FILE
Justice Weldon Korir said the stay order will remain in place until the High Court hears and determines a petition filed by Olive Telecommunications challenging the cancellation of the tender/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 19 – It is now unclear when the Jubilee administration’s election promise of providing a laptop to each and every class one pupil in public schools will be fulfilled, after the High Court stayed the decision by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board to cancel the Sh24.6 billion tender award to Olive Telecommunications.

Justice Weldon Korir said the stay order will remain in place until the High Court hears and determines a petition filed by Olive Telecommunications challenging the cancellation of the tender.

Korir therefore effectively barred the Ministry of Education from reviewing the Best and Final Offer (BAFO) of the two remaining bidders, Hewlett Packard (HP) and Haier Electrical Appliances, until Olive’s petition is heard and determined.

“It is in the interest of justice that to protect investor interests since the dispute involves international companies,” Korir explained in his ruling.

The board had given the Ministry of Education 45 days within with to review the BAFO and complete the tendering process.

“The procuring entity is directed to proceed with the tender process from the point of the opening of the Best and Final Offers and thereafter conduct the due diligence in accordance with the criteria under clauses 34.2, 34.3 and 34.4 of the tender document,” the board Chairperson Josephine Monga’re had directed.

Olive Telecommunications through lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga have now been directed to serve the board as the respondent and the Ministry of Education, HP and Haier as interested parties with the suit papers pending the hearing of their petition from April 10.

Olive Telecommunications moved to court on Wednesday challenging the process through which the board cancelled the tender awarded to them by the Ministry of Education to supply 1.2 million laptops to class one pupils in public primary schools.

They contended that the firm’s turnover, one of the reasons the board gave for cancelling the tender award, was not among the issues before the board and that had they been accorded the opportunity; they would have explained how they qualified as bidders.

“In finding that the applicant lacked the necessary financial turnover the board made a gross error of law and of fact,” Nyaoga argued. READ Sh24.6bn laptops tender cancelled

In a paid advertisement immediately following the cancellation of the tender award, Olive Telecommunications explained:

“The combined financial strength of the Olive Consortium was way above the threshold stipulated in the tender document. For instance, the average turnover requirement was Sh8 billion whereas the average turnover of the Olive Consortium was in excess of Sh17 billion.

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